Wise parents know that the “do as I say, not as I do” parenting strategy just doesn’t work. Our kids learn from our example. Just google “kids swearing,” and you will be presented with endless articles and blog posts about how the leading cause of swearing in kids lands on weather or not they hear their parents swear.
But this post isn’t about swearing... This post is about how I asked my kids for help curbing my growing screen time addiction.
There, I said it.
I have a screen time problem.
Its tricky because a lot of my work involves being on the computer. I work on my presentations, write blog posts, and market my work through facebook and gmail.
Its the facebook and gmail that really gets me into trouble. Lets just say that facebook was MADE for people like me. I love to know whats going on. I get so much satisfaction over seeing that little thumbs up or comments on my status.
I know, its gross. But I'm coming clean, and that is the first step in recovery.
What I began to notice recently, is that I use the computer to escape. If Ben is herding the kids up to start the bedtime routine I think, hmm, I'll just pop online for a minute and see how many people read that blog post I shared. Completely missing the vital end of the day connection that is availalbe right then with my kids.
Or, its the weekend and the family's outside shooting hoops and I think, ooh, perfect, I'll just check my email real quick. Again, missing out on time together, time to connect.
We all know what "for a minute" and "real quick" turns into, right? I fall right into the black hole of screen time. I knew what I was doing... I did have a nagging voice telling me to knock it off... And finally, it was time to listen.
"I have a problem I need your help with," I said to the kids and Ben at our last family meeting. "I know I am on the computer too much, and I am missing out on spending time with you guys. I want some ideas from you so that I can create a screen time plan for myself."
My kids are more than familiar with screen time plans. They have their own set of responsibilities for earning screen time. I knew that they would have lots of ideas that would be helpful to me, and I wanted to model the family meeting process with a problem that I was having, giving them a break from being in the hot seat.
Here are the suggestions I received -
"3 hours a day."
"Do it while the kids are at school."
"Get your work done first."
"Clean the house to earn your screen time." HA!
Logical suggestions... And you can tell they have lived through this process before :). So now it is up to me to take their suggestions and write a plan that will help me do better. Once I make my plan, I will post it for all to see... I know that I will need help with accountability. And guess what? It turns out that my kids looooooove to point out when I am not doing what I said I would do.
So there you have it. Family meetings are a tool for us all... And it was a great opportunity to model the life skills I hope that my children will begin to embody.
Proud to be walking my talk :).
Hows your screen time???